While the greater part of us can’t venture into space to visit our planetary neighbors and the stars past them, there comes an opportunity each very rarely (play on words proposed) for us to observe an uncommon event of divine extents with our unaided eyes.
On December 21, 2020, the gas monsters Jupiter and Saturn will come nearer than both have ever been since 1226 A.D., making a visual scene in the night sky that concurs with the 2020 winter solstice.
During the event, the planets will sit simply 0.1 degrees separated from one another – around one-fifth the width of the moon, allowing watchers the chance to perceive what will resemble the two planets converging into one.
For clear reasons, a few people have considered this impending event a ‘Christmas Star’, albeit any celestial or profound association with the occasion isn’t evident.
Verifiably, the Great Conjunction – the occasion that sees Jupiter “overwhelm” Saturn in the night sky because of the distinction in what amount of time it requires for them to circle around the sun – happens each 19.6 years by and large.
The occasion happens similarly as Jupiter – with a 11.9-year orbital period because of its closer nearness to the sun – passes Saturn with its 29.5-year orbital period, yet not in right around 800 years have the planets come this near one another.
The last time the Great Conjunction occurred with the planets coming this nearby, Europe was as yet distant from encountering the Renaissance, Genghis Khan was as yet alive, and King Louis IX was simply succeeding his dad as leader of France.
Then again, we probably won’t be alive in 2080 – whenever Jupiter and Saturn show up this nearby in our skies. What’s more, concerning the uncommon event when Jupiter totally overshadows Saturn? Write in your schedules for the year 7541.
How to see it?
With the states of the 2020 Great Conjunction being so serendipitous for anybody keen on getting an impression, those intrigued will scarcely need to do anything aside from gaze toward the night sky on December 21.
Should climate conditions grant, watchers will see a “double planet” of sorts, with Jupiter being the more iridescent body of the two during the event.
Both will sit low in the southwestern sky, with the ideal survey time being roughly 30 minutes after nightfall.
To get the best view, look for some place with an unhampered viewpoint of the sky, for example, an open field or a slope. What’s more, in case you’re particularly anxious, you can start seeing as the two planets meet up a couple of days ahead of time, allowing you to foresee where to look on the day it occurs.
Should you neglect to get a brief look at the occasion on December 21, you’ll be sorry to realize that whenever you’ll have the option to watch the Great Conjunction happen will be in 2040, and it won’t be close to as unmistakable as this one.
Be that as it may, if it’s all around much problem for you, you could simply watch a YouTube livestream of the occasion facilitated by the Lowell Observatory upon the arrival of the event:
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Glean News journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.